Ruff probably should have been angrier than she was. How dense did Fishlegs have to be to assume she would die just because she had decided to escape being snowed in? Why did it take that idea for him to get his act together? She had offered him a very reasonable response when she had told him she loved him. And yet, there was something incredibly romantic about him knocking her over into the snow. It was dumb, oafish, and thoughtless—and worked perfectly for her. She was harassed by a brother for years, she knew her love lanaguage. The tackle was sweet, a lot more than she had expected, and she was not about to complain. How many other guys in Berk would come after a girl during a snowstorm?
No, she definitely could not complain. She was in love, and it was good again. He had said enough to make it all better, even better than it had been before. She felt he deserved a punch after all he had put her through, but that could and would be saved for later. After all, he was trying to earn it.
For example, he was now listing all of her faults as they returned toward the village. "And you're weird, and really loud, and impatient. And kind of gangly. Did I say that already?"
"Yes, you did." She reached down to grab a snowball with the hand that wasn't holding his. "Twice."
"And you're mean," he continued happily. "For example, I think you're going to throw that snowball at me."
She had tried to be sneaky. "You saw that?"
"I tend to notice things."
"Stupid things." She laughed and crushed the snowball into his face.
He sputtered and wiped the snow away with his own free hand. "How many times do I have to apologize for that?" He no longer sounded guilty and desperate, just genuinally curious. "I'm sorry to the 8th power of ten. Is that good enough?"
"No," she said, squeezing his arm. "You will apologize as many times as I want."
He reached forward and pushed an icy branch from their path. "I already told you, I fell in love with you first."
His one piece of redemption. Even so, she couldn't help but feel pure joy when she thought he had loved her all along. "But you had no idea. You're an idiot. You couldn't even figure that out. You don't notice things at all."
"That's another problem with you. You can never say anything nice."
"I know. This place is not a winter wonderland but a frozen wasteland." Ruff gestured at the lay of Berk stretched out before them. The sun was sort of out, the ocean was sparking, and it seeed a few individuals had managed to dig themselves out of the snow already. Yep, her husband was right. She was not going to say there was anything nice about this. "And on top of that, you are boring, eat way too much, are completely dense, and never make any sense."
"Your brother's prettier than you," he shot back.
"But you still think I'm pretty?" She stopped and twisted to face him with a smile.
He blushed bright red. "Yes. Really pretty."
"Just not as pretty as Tuff." She nodded and threw her arms around his neck for a kiss. "I can handle that."
"Good." Without warning he scooped her up. "Want me to carry you over the threshold again? Not the Hall, our house. For good luck?"
"The house is covered in snow," she said, kissing him on the cheek. "What are you going to do? Drop me through the ceiling."
"Er…" That had caught him off-guard.
She laughed. "I'm kidding."
"Actually, I was thinking about it just now," he said thoughtfully. "Remember after you lost the baby and I carried you home?"
That was something she wasn't going to forget soon, but a smile slowly spread over her face. She liked him using the word "home". So much better than house. "I do."
"Did that count?"
She snuggled against him. "We can say it did."
"There's just one problem." He sounded truly concerned.
She looked up at him. "Huh?"
He was looking over the mostly snow-covered village. "How are we supposed to tell which house is ours?"
It was over a week before it was practical to venture outside. Climbing through the smoke hole in the roof was the only way out, and it was terribly impractical. Fishlegs and Ruff spent a little bit of time digging the snow away from the front door, but Fishlegs decided he didn't mind being snowed in.
It meant time with Ruff. Over a week of just Ruff. The wife he was crazy for and loved more than anything, the wife who was just as crazy for him and just plain crazy. He couldn't get enough of her. They talked about everything, wild stories of her adventures, random facts that he knew. She at least pretended to be interested and he loved her for that. They spent time in bed. A lot of time. They even did dumb things like tease the kitten and play games and read. Ruff even insisted on reorganizing things. It was like the honeymoon time they never had. And now they were having it.
Being in love was awesome.
Why hadn't they figured that out earlier?
Fishlegs didn't know, but there was no point in caring. All that mattered was now.
It was almost disappointing when the snow let up enough for an escape. Still, real sunlight was nice when he and Ruff managed to break through the tunnel they had dug to actual fresh air. It was sort of like what an animal frozen for millennia must feel when it became unfrozen. He didn't say that out loud. Ruff would probably hit him if he said that outloud.
"We should make a giant snowfort out of this," Ruff said as she heaved a snowball in no particular direction. "Or a giant snowball. One that would crush the entire village."
"We'd have to start at the top of the village. You know, for gravity."
"Can't we just build it here and you can push it up there?" she whined.
He smiled. He was so in love with her.
But all thought of giant snowballs vanished as snow was already being thrown everywhere.
"You're an idiot!" Snotlout's voice echoed on the snow. "You're an idiot who's never serious and she needs someone serious!"
"I can make her laugh!" Tuffnut's voice shot back. "That's what she needs!"
Both boys appeared, rolling roughly straight past the house, hands around each other's throats, bodies covered in snow.
"She liked me first!" Snotlout screamed as he laid a fist into Tuff's shoulder. "Ask anyone! She liked me first!"
Fishlegs heard Ruffnut suppress a giggle next to him. He almost expected her to join in the scuffled.
But Snotlout and Tuffnut were oblivious to anything but each other. "No one cares if she liked you first! She figured out the best choice in the end."
With a snarl Tuff wrestled Snotlout facedown into the snow. The twins were very good at whitewashing, they really were. "Yeah, well, my parents are talking to her parents so—" He screamed as Snotlout kneed him.
And Ruff just kept giggling.
"What's going on?" Fishlegs asked as he helped her out onto solid snow.
"Tantrum" was her only reply.
Fishlegs really wasn't sure what that meant and he would probably be in trouble for not knowing. To be on the safe side, he said nothing.
There were other people out and about, but so far only Tuffnut and Snotlout had managed to draw Fishlegs' attention away from Ruff. He was taking her for a walk in the snow, where everything perfect and pretty. He should have done this a long time ago.
He didn't notice anyone until Hiccup. Hiccup, looking forlorne and upset, sitting by himself in the snow.
Ruffnut grinned and prepared a snowball that Fishlegs had to grab from her hands. "Everything okay?" Fishlegs asked.
Hiccup shrugged. "Astrid's mad at me. She kicked me out. I don't even know what I did."
But they hadn't been married too long ago. "What?"
Hiccup shrugged and stared into the snow. "I'm pretty sure she hates me."
"No, she doesn't," Ruff said quickly.
Hiccup forced a laugh. "Thanks."
"They deserve it," Ruff said when they had returned home. The walk had been a walk and nothing more. Fishlegs didn't care what the rest of the village was doing, he cared about Ruff. "I'm horrible for saying that, but they deserve it."
Fishlegs assumes she was talking about Hiccup and Astrid. "Being mad at each other?" He was inclined to agree. "Yeah, darn happy couples."
"Yeah, let them fight it out." She collapsed on the bed with a yawn, and Fishlegs felt the desire to join her. "It'll be good for them. They've made me sick all this time, it's great to see them having issues."
"It is pretty good," Fishlegs agreed, lying down next to her. "So you don't want to say anything to them."
She shrugged. "I told you, all the cuteness made me sick. Like, I feel sick just thinking about it."
"You really can't say anything nice," he said, taking her hand.
But she immediately pulled away and sat up. She looked green.
"Ruff?" Fishlegs asked nervously.
But she was already on her feet and running to the door. "You make me sick," she managed to mutter.
He couldn't think. He just watched her yank open the door and sink to her knees. This was familiar. "Ruff, are you okay?"
She didn't respond.
Fishlegs felt a twist of excitement and panic. Now that he knew what to look for…
When she finally again, it was weak and breathless. "You really make me sick."
Thanks to everyone who read this. We're glad so many people enjoyed the story, and thanks to all of those who wrote in with comments and critiques. Twas great.
Backroads (the one with the account) is going to be starting by herself a sort of sequelish story-that is, a story that just so happens to take place after the events of this one, probably focusing more on Hiccup and Astrid.